Paléo festival reaches for the stars

Big British acts are set to bring in the punters Keystone

Paléo – said to be Switzerland's biggest open-air music event – will offer some high-octane rock this year, with bands Arctic Monkeys and Muse scheduled to appear.

This content was published on July 24, 2007 - 08:25

Also in the line-up at the festival, which started on Tuesday, is Icelandic pop princess Björk. The best of young French talent will also be showcased.

The festival, at Nyon on the shores of Lake Geneva, is already a sell-out. In all, 190,000 tickets were snapped up in just three days. However, all is not lost as organisers have put aside 1,000 tickets for each evening.

The 100 concerts are expected to attract around 225,000 spectators.

The highly successful Sheffield-based band, the Arctic Monkeys, will be heading up the rock contingent.

They will open the way for a series of other English-speaking bands, such as Canadian rockers Arcade Fire and fellow Brits Muse.

Wednesday will see a concert by Björk in her only Swiss date of this summer.

Much of this year's energies have been devoted to promoting the best of the upcoming French singers, including Adrienne Pauly, Emily Loizeau and Renan Luce.

"It's an opportunity to showcase a lot of new talent in our own language, people who express themselves in different ways, with humour, poetry, impertinence and energy," said Daniel Rossellat, the festival's director.

The newcomers will join more established acts such as Renaud and Zazie. French comedian Gad Elmaleh will be giving a one-man show.

Captive audience

Rossellat is sure that he has a captive audience at Paléo. A survey conducted three years ago – another one is in the pipeline – showed that two-thirds of attendees were French-speaking and from the Lake Geneva area.

Only six per cent came from the German-speaking part of Switzerland and ten per cent from abroad.

It is thought that the German speakers may be held back by the wealth of festivals in their part of the country, such as at Frauenfeld or the Gurten festival in the capital, Bern. Many of these events even feature the same stars.

Rossellat says he is satisfied with the situation. "We don't have a tourist office mandate or any funding, which means we have to bring our audiences in from afar," he said.

"The main thing is to have audiences who are both faithful to and enthusiastic about our programme. It doesn't really matter where they come from."

But Paléo, which has a budget of around SFr19 million ($15.7 million), is aiming to be much more than just music. The Village du Monde will this year showcase entertainment and stalls from North Africa, while the Crique will highlight circus arts and street theatre.

The festival wants to reduce its environmental impact and will be reinforcing the measures it introduced last year to clear up litter as well as improve recycling and the use of public transport.


Key facts

Claims to be largest open air music event in Switzerland and one of the largest in Europe
Attended by 225,000 people in 2006
6 stages
120 concerts in 2007
100 food stands, 5 restaurants
Free camp site
Around SFr19 million budget
50 employees, 3,700 volunteers

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Party on

Launched in 1976, the Paléo music festival takes place in Nyon, on the northern shores of Lake Geneva. This year it runs from July 24-29.

Paléo was the name of a successful racehorse and in 1975 became the name of a Nyon-based cultural association involved in organising concerts. This name was adopted by the Festival in 1983.

The 1,000 tickets set aside will be put on sale on the same day from 9am via the Paléo website and Ticketcorner outlets.

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